Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Fun Mail Day!

Yesterday, Jason brought in the mail and in it were four packages for me! Hooray! First, and most exciting, was a package from Corey. I had completely forgotten that we were doing a trade (I sent her a Pixie Stick), so it was a package I wasn't expecting. In it was a wonderful assortment of vintage lace and papers-yum! I'm sure you'll be seeing bits and pieces show up in my art.

Next was an Ebay win I've been waiting for. It is a yard of fabric. Isn't this the cutest? And such wonderful colors! Another to add to my pile of "soft books to make". It will be perfect for a book because of the "story-telling" sorts of images.

Then a package from each of my sisters-belated birthday gifts! My sister, Katie, had some stamps made from a photo of Riley. I've thought of doing this myself, but never got around to it. What a neat idea for a gift though! And my sister, Julia, sent two carved pieces of wood- I think they were used for printmaking or something similar. Wow! Maybe they're finally starting to "get" me, because these are all things I would have picked out myself!

So, being me (and what a fun ride that is sometimes!), I couldn't just leave things as they were. I wasn't sure where to display the carved pieces, and they were so dark it was hard to see the details, so I decided to make some alterations! I hope my sister doesn't mind, but I'm sure it's something she'd almost expect of me. Anyway, a

little paint and some wire, and I now have two really cute photoframes! I love them!

And by the way, isn't that photo of Riley a nice one? It's amazing how playing around with the contrast and color on a photo can change it. That photo was originally in color, and he was wearing bright pajamas, and now it looks like a studio portrait!

That's it for today- tomorrow I hope to get a Father's Day present made!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

New Soft Book

It was a very productive Memorial Day weekend for us. Seems both Jason and I were in the mood to "get things done!", so that's exactly what we did. We finished up with a number of nagging chores that have been sitting in piles around the house, including working some more in the master bathroom, burning photos onto CD's, rewiring speakers for our TV, cleaning, decorating, and much more. It feels really good to have a lot of these little jobs done. Of course there's still a list a mile long (isn't there always in a new house?), but at least we knocked a few inches off that mile.

I even found some time to do a fun art project amidst all our productiveness! I made another soft book for Riley. I'm becoming addicted to these books! Although I've only made two, I've got fabric for probably four more, and I'm now constantly on the lookout for good images. He's still a bit too little to really get the idea of books (all he wants to do is put them in his mouth right now), but hopefully he'll have fun with them once he's a little older. Oh well, even if not, I have plenty of fun with them myself!

Here are photos of the book. I didn't realize when I took them how blurry they are, but I'm too lazy to retake them... Of course now that I've got a scanner, the first thing I make doesn't scan well because it's fabric and is too large!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Studio Friday & Birthday Report

First, the Studio Friday topic this week was "Aged/Antique". I could have spent hours finding all the things in my studio that were aged or antique, but I didn't have hours, so I chose the first thing I happened upon!

This is a really cute little doll bed-shelf-box sort of thingie I recently found. I searched around to find a good use for it, and turns out it's the perfect size to hold these two aged/antique books. One is an old dictionary and the other is an old school primer. I get 99% of the words that I use in my artwork from these two books (the majority from the primer). I don't know about others, but I rarely print out words to use- I'd prefer to find them in an old book. I will flip through a book for 15 minutes, waiting for the perfect word or phrase to jump out at me, when it really would only take 2 minutes to go to my computer and print it. But I think the serendipity of the right word revealing itself adds to the piece of art. In fact, I use the primer so much that I recently purchased a duplicate of the same book so that I'll have another when this one has exhausted itself!

Now onto the birthday report. It was a nice day, although birthdays sure aren't what they used to be! Every time I went to do a chore, I'd think, "It's my birthday! I shouldn't have to do this on my birthday!", but if I didn't do it, it wouldn't get done... I guess that's what being an adult's all about, right?

But it did have its perks! We went out to dinner and to the Cirque du Soleil show. The show was amazing, of course, and a couple different acts got my mind going with some ideas for pieces of art. And Jason gave me my lone birthday gift (what ever happened to having a table full of gifts?? Ah, it's that adult thing again...), which was a scanner! I can't seem to take decent photos of my artwork for the life of me, so I hope this will help. However, in playing around with it this morning, I'm having problems with scanning things that are pixelated (like printed photos, etc.). The pixelation seems to be almost magnified with the scan. Is this something I can't get around? If anyone with a scanner has any advice, I'd appreciate it!

And, as I planned, I was able to do a piece of art yesterday. Before I show that though, I'll show what the pieces from the two previous years looked like.

The first one was really just a piece that had a birthday theme. I like it, but it doesn't have a lot of meaning behind it other than the fact that it was done on my birthday.

For the second one, I decided to showcase some things that were part of my life in the previous year. We had been through a year of trying to conceive a baby, actually conceiving, and also purchasing our first house. I'm really not too crazy about the piece, but at least it's meaningful.

So yesterday, I did something similar- showing what my year's been about. I showed a photo of a house (for our new house), a piece of a card that Jason wrote me (for my wonderful husband), and a photo of Riley and me in a photobooth (for my adorable baby). The piece came very easily to me, and I really love it! I'm becoming more and more intent on using my own image in my art. When I do a piece that doesn't have a personal image in it, I almost feel like it has no meaning... If you want to see a larger image, go to my Picturetrail site-for some reason, Blogger's not allowing it to be enlarged.

So anyway, there you have it. Aged/antique and aged/antique- the first is my Studio Friday submission and the second is how I feel because of how old I'm getting!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Another One

I did my second piece for the "With One Stamp" feature. Again, difficult for me to incorporate the stamped image into my style, but I'm happy with the results. Here's a peek:

Tomorrow is my 34th birthday-yay! I hope to do a piece of art. Two years ago, I decided that every year on my birthday, I'd do a piece of art. Then we are going to go out to eat at Todai (yum!) and to a traveling Cirque du Soleil show that is playing in Seattle. Should be a fun day! I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Rubber Stamps- Ugh!

So I've been working today on doing a piece for the "With One Stamp" section of Somerset Studio. If you're not familiar with this feature, several different artists are asked to use the same rubber stamp to create art, in order to show the stamp's versatility. I agreed to participate, since it will appear in the same issue as my frame article (which is done, by the way- another check off the list!). Anyway, I agreed, and I may now be regretting that decision, because I had forgotten how difficult it is for me to use rubber stamps!

For some reason, I just have the hardest time incorporating stamps into my artwork. Any time I try, the image looks out of place. Instead of blending with the rest of the piece, it just sticks out. That's what was happening with the piece I worked on today. Every time I'd stand back to look at it, the stamped image stuck out like a sore thumb. Argh!

But I persisted, and amazingly came out on the other side with a piece that I really like! Not without a lot of effort, but as long as I like the end result, I'm happy! Here is a snippet of the piece- I won't show the whole thing since it's going to be published. (You can't see the rubber stamp in this photo.)

Tomorrow, the process starts again. I need to produce one more piece with the stamp. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

New Frames For Sale!

I've just added some new frames for sale to my Picturetrail site! These are ones that I am not sending to Somerset Studio for the article, so they are available immediately. Once I get the others back from them, I'll list them as well, but I have no idea what the timing will be on that.

If you'd like one, email me at I will mark them "sold" as they sell- first come, first served! Shipping will be $9 each. I can take Paypal at the above email address or write me for my snail mail address to send a check.

In other notes, I am just itching to get some other art-making in now that I've finished this batch of frames, but it may have to wait for my many other obligations to be finished. We'll see...maybe I'll try to sneak a piece in this week if I seem to be running ahead of schedule!

$30-4x6 photo
$33-4x6 photo
$30-4x6 photo




$38- 2 4x4 photos


$33- 2 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 photos

Friday, May 19, 2006

Step One Complete

Well, I've finished the frames for the Somerset article. I made more than I needed, so that I'd have a choice, and what the heck- as long as I was making them, I might as well make a bunch! Next step is to choose which ones to actually send. They asked for 3-5 frames. Hmmm, do you think I'd be way to presumptuous to send them all??? It's just so hard to decide! They're all my little babies! Well, realistically, I won't overwhelm them and send all of them, but I do think I'll probably bump the number up to 5-7! Anyway, that way they can decide which ones are best, and maybe if I'm lucky, they'll all make it in!

I also need to decide what to put in each frame. I'm actually not sure whether they'll put something else in the frames, but why not include some of my own things? You can be guaranteed that I'll try to sneak a few photos of Riley in there!

And speaking of each of these frames being my little babies, is it terribly wrong to be so enamored of one's own creation? I just cannot get over how much I love this one frame I made! There's just something about the combination of colors and patterns that I simply adore. I think this one's going to have to stay with me after it makes it back from the magazine. In fact, there are a few in this lot that are going to be difficult to give up! Which is bad, because the one good thing about these frames is that they aren't as personal as my other art, so they're easier for me to sell! I can't start becoming attached to them!

So as the title states, this was step one. Next big step is the article, which I haven't even begun! But it should go quickly, since it's really only a step-by-step article.

However, before any of that gets done, I've got to get moving-we've got a garage sale tomorrow, and I've got a ton to do to prepare for that!! Ah, life! Never enough time!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Corner of My Home

Sorry I've been a little lazy with the blogging lately. I've been busy trying to get all these frames done for the Somerset article. And to add to it, Riley's been having a rough couple weeks. For the most part, he's an excellent baby, but every so often, he goes through a short phase of not wanting to take naps. So no naptime for him means no Mommy time at all! But things are looking up- he took all his naps today-so hopefully normalcy is around the corner!

Here is a wall in our loft/TV room. It's a mixture of a variety of pieces. I love the way all the textures and colors blend together.

First is the large piece. This is a piece I saw on Ebay a couple years ago. I loved it, but it was priced higher than I wanted to bid. Fortunately, nobody else bid either, and the seller relisted it at a lower price. So I bid and won! It's such a nice mix of texture and muted colors, and I love the architectural images showing through. After I received the piece, I asked the seller whether he'd be selling any more, since I liked this one so much. He told me that he just doesn't make enough money selling them on Ebay, so this was the last one he'd sell there- I guess I lucked out!

On the left is a piece by Phoenix Forrester. I just love her style- I have several little pieces by her! I bought this from her at Artfest a couple years ago. Above it is a little tin nicho with dried roses inside.

And on the right is a piece I did several years ago while I taught a nicho class at Artfest. It was just a piece I was working on while the students were working, so I wasn't giving it my full attention, but I was really pleased with the way it turned out. In fact, it's one of my favorite pieces now! Now that I think about it, I don't think I have a photo of this on my website. I'll have to add one.

Tomorrow I hope to finish all the frames. When I have a moment, I'll try to post some photos!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Recent (Color-Coordinated) Acquisitions

First of all, thank you to those of you who sent me well wishes on my awful cold! Today it seems to be starting to subside, thank goodness, and (crossing my fingers), it doesn't seem to have been passed to Jason or Riley as of yet.

So I've bought some new "favorites" lately that I haven't yet shown here. As I was looking at them to take photographs, I realized how color-coordinated they are! Unfortunately, I guess that means I'm following the trends, which I'd kind of prefer not to do, but oh well, when you love something, you love it!

First off, the clothes. I am so in love with this bird t-shirt from Old Navy that I almost don't want to ever wear it so that it doesn't wear out! The colors and image are just so perfect! Of course, I really could make one of my own using the freezer paper technique everyone's talking about, but for $6 (on sale), how could I resist? Also from Old Navy is the striped skirt that I drooled over when those commercials were playing ad nauseum. Again, it was also on sale- only $10! And the sweet yellow-green skirt w/blue trim comes from Ross, one of my very favorite stores.

Then, the vintage thrift finds. There's a darling little doll chair that I have no idea what to do with, but I just had to have. By the way, I'm really digging vintage doll furniture lately- dressers, appliances, etc. A lot of it can be pretty pricey though, so I haven't broken down and purchased anything (other than this chair which was only $8). I just can't justify it with a little boy, but I am really going to be in trouble if we ever have a girl!

Also at the same place, I found this great fabric- blue with plum-colored outlines around the animals. There's not much of it though, so I'll have to really think about how to use it. And I couldn't resist this sweet baby nightgown. Most likely I'll end up cutting it up for the fabric, which is adorable, but maybe I'll dress a teddy bear with it in the meantime...

And, for those that are interested, here is a progress photo of some of the frames I'm plugging away at. I'm making more than I need for the article for Somerset, so that I have a few to choose from. Those that don't get sent away I'll list for sale!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there! I have been suffering through a nasty cold that hit me suddenly yesterday morning, but I did manage to get out today and do a little shopping while Daddy watched Riley. I know that on Mother's Day, I really probably should have spent the whole day with my son, but Jason offered to watch him while I went out, so I accepted! And when I got home, I got a couple of sweet cards and a really gorgeous hanging planter that Jason says Riley ordered online for me when I wasn't looking. Obviously, I still need to put a plant in it. And now, Jason's going to cook popcorn shrimp for me for dinner. We would have gone out, but I don't think I'm feeling up to it with my cold. But, all in all, a pretty nice first Mother's Day for me!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Back to Work...

Well, I'm all of the sudden in the throes of making frames again! I've been asked to write an article for the holiday issue of Somerset Studio about my photoframes, due at the end of May. So I need to make several (holiday themed if possible) for that, as well as a few special order ones for Tracie Lyn and also my sister. And I've also been asked to do some "With One Stamp" projects for that issue of Somerset.

So in addition to making the frames, I also have to actually write the article...

And do the stamp projects...

And also the collaborative with Lauren and Pam...

Not to mention we have a community garage sale next weekend that I still need to majorly prepare for...

Oh, and I also have a six-month old to take care of!

So, needless to say, I'll be busy for the next couple weeks! But that's okay- I like having things that need to be done, so that I'm not sitting in front of the TV all day long. But my own art-making time does suffer. I know that once this is all done, I'll be real ready to get back to some "real" art.

I stopped by the fabric store on my way home from Riley's doctor's appointment today and got a couple more fabrics to make soft books from, when I'm done with all the above, of course. One has clowns and the other has cute, tiny bears. The third is one I bought a couple weeks ago, of little boys dressed in different costumes. This one's my favorite. They'll all make such cute little books! I'm sure I'll enjoy them much more than Riley will, but I'm okay with that!

Oops, just realized it's Thursday, and I didn't do a corner (I think I missed last week, too!). Oh well, no time...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What I've Been Up To...

I've been busy the last few days, with various things, so I haven't had time to do any art. But I thought I'd show some of the things I've been up to.

First, I've been working on our master bathroom. A few weeks ago, I had painted light blue stripes on the walls, but they were just way too bright. I just can't seem to pick out the right paint color from the swatch book, no matter how hard I try. I swear the color looked like a soft baby blue, but it came out almost glowing! Anyway, I have a good friend who does faux finishing for a living, so she came over yesterday and we applied an antiquing glaze over the whole wall to tone everything down. I think I'm pleased with the results. The finish itself is gorgeous, I'm just still not sure what I think about the stripes. Jason hates the stripes, so it makes me second-guess myself. Any opinions out there?

And I'm also not sure about the curtains. I'm trying this asymmetrical thing with them, something I've never done before. I just have the hardest time with curtains- I have absolutely no idea how to do anything other than basic curtains. So, it's still a work in progress. I'll keep you updated...

I also had a photo shoot with Riley out in the sun a couple days ago. I got some pretty nice shots- it helps that he's turning out to be such a photogenic little boy! Here are some of my favorites.

So there's a touch of what I've been doing. I'm in the mood to do some art, but I'm not sure when I'll be able to- this week I've got something scheduled every day (dr.'s appointments, etc.), so that makes it more difficult.

Oh, and I almost forgot! I told Kathleen Welsh that I'd put a referral in for her blog. Check out the nude paintings in this post- they're gorgeous!